| Abdul Hakiim Yakof |
TO CELEBRATE 30 years of Brunei–Korea friendship, Times Square Shopping Centre along with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) held a three-day Korean Festival 2014 from October 17 to 19. The last day of the festival featured performances from Bibap, ‘Hanbok’ traditional attire photo booth, a lucky draw and closing ceremony.
Joining the Korea Festival 2014 was KTO in Kuala Lumpur. KTO was in Brunei to promote Korea holidays for Bruneians. Speaking in an interview with the Bulletin was DY Park, Marketing Director for Malaysia and Brunei.
“We have seen a rise in Muslim travellers to Korea for holiday but few Bruneians have been to Korea and most only have an idea of it from Korean drama. From my observation, some need more information on how to travel to Korea and the activities they can do there. I’m here to promote the attractions of Korea and tours available.”
Park shared that Korea caters well to Muslim tourists with plenty of Halal restaurants and Muslim prayer facilities in Seoul and second largest city, Busan. In terms of the Brunei-Korea relations, he said Bruneians can travel to Korea without a visa and stay in Korea for up to 30 days.
“Korea has four seasons – spring which lasts from late March to May, summer in June and July, autumn from mid-October to November and winter from December to February.
“If Bruneians want to go to Korea for skiing and see the snow festival, they should go in December and if they want to see the beautiful spring flowers they can go from March to May. In the autumn, the whole country will be covered with red and brown maple leaves.”
He highlighted that the top attractions in Korea are shopping in Seoul and Namiseom Island. The island is where the famous Korean romance drama “Winter Sonata” was shot. For tourists interested in historical monuments, Seoul is the home of five ancient palaces – Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace, Changgyeong Palace, Gyeonghui Palace and Deoksu Palace. The country also has many Buddhist temples to visit.
In order for Bruneians to travel to Korea, Park said that they can fly to Korea’s Incheon Airport via transit at Singapore or Hong Kong. He added that in 2013, AirAsia launched a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Busan in the southern part of Korea. Another good destination is Jeju Island famous for its beaches, seafood, water sports and mountain sports.
“In terms of communication, it is true that our English is not as good as the Bruneians but I don’t think language will be a problem especially at tourist attractions. In Seoul, most people can speak English. Bruneians that travelled to Korea have told me they haven’t encountered communication problems while in Korea. The Korean people are helpful, courteous and always happy to assist tourists.”
He also said that the security at tourist destinations is guaranteed with the newly introduced Tourist Police Unit due to increasing number of tourists to Korea. The police will be patrolling major tourist areas in Seoul. Aside from maintaining law and order, they also crack down on overcharging merchants and taxi drivers.